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Los Angeles: Sweet Potato Tacos

Sweet Potato Tacos

I have to admit the lofty concept behind these Sweet Potato Tacos with Smoked Almond Salsa is not my own – but it is my recipe. Here’s how it came to be.

I guess I’m missing Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t moved. I can see Hollywood from my house. I miss LA because I haven’t really been in it for 16 days. I look around the world, in the news, and on social media. I see people experiencing this pandemic differently than we are here in Los Angeles. I don’t know what to think. I also don’t know how to communicate what I’m feeling.

To combat this feeling of isolation eight of my friends and I participated in a ZOOM virtual cocktail party. It was fun. Not as fun as bellying up to the bar at Musso and Frank Grill, but surprisingly gratifying. Still, the experience made me hungry. Hungry for Los Angeles. For me, Wes Avila’s Guerrilla Tacos helps define what it means to be an Angeleno.

Guerrilla Tacos

Guerrilla Tacos started as a food truck. They specialize in (you guessed it) tacos. I’ve certainly sung their praises before on this blog, so it’s no wonder that even in these hunkering down days of “social isolation” my thoughts turn to tacos.

Guerilla Tacos has recently replaced its food truck with a stationary restaurant, but I’d always patronized the taco truck. The truck moved around town and, in the pre-isolation days, there was only one day a week this truck was geographically friendly to Hollywood. I could never remember what day of the week that was so I was constantly popping into their website to check the schedule. While there I virtually devoured the daily menu as well.

Sweet Potato Tacos

Well, on one of these virtual taco runs I saw his version of Sweet Potato Tacos. I knew immediately I had to have one of these tacos. However, the one rule I have about living in Los Angeles is I never (ever) drive east in the middle of the day. Especially on an isolation day.

Here’s my simplified version. I can’t promise it’s anything like Wes Avila’s taco (his recipe can be found in his book or here). But I can promise you won’t have to break your social isolation to taste it. GREG

PS After I made my own version of his Sweet Potato Tacos I discovered that Guerilla Tacos now offers an Emergency Taco Kit. It’s available for pick up from the restaurant.

Sweet Potato Tacos
Roast Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Tacos with Smoked Almond Salsa

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 10–12 tacosSource Inspired by Wes AvilaPublished

The recipe for Smoked Almond Salsa can be found on this blog at https://​www​.sippitysup​.com/​r​e​c​i​p​e​/​s​m​o​k​e​d​-​a​l​m​o​n​d​-​s​a​l​sa/

Sweet Potato Tacos

Ingredients

  • 2 pound sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 3/4‑inch dice)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2–3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 10–12 (4‑inch) tortillas
  • smoked almond salsa (see recipe)
  • crumbled cotija cheese (to taste)
  • thinly sliced scallions (to taste)
  • lime wedges (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and caramelized on the edges. Set the large bowl aside to use again once the potatoes are roasted.

While the potatoes roast, cut the butter into 2 or 3 pieces and place it in the large bowl you set aside for the potatoes. Add the thyme leaves along with the potatoes hot from the oven. Toss the mixture together until well coated with melted butter.

Serve the sweet potatoes immediately on tortillas topped with smoked almond salsa, cotija cheese, a sprinkle of sliced scallions, and lime wedges on the side (if using).

making smoked almond salsa
Smoked Almond Salsa

Smoked Almond Salsa

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1 ½ cupSource Adapted from Wes AvilaPublished
Smoked Almond Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ cup stemmed and chopped dried chiles (use a mixture of arbol, pasilla, ancho, and/or guajillo)
  • ¼ cup chopped smoked almonds
  • ½ pound roughly chopped tomatillos (husked)
  • ½ cup chopped roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Directions

Set a large cast-iron skillet with a lid over medium-low heat. Once warm add the oil and dried chiles.

Once they begin to brown and become fragrant (but before they start smoking) add the almonds and cook for another 30 seconds. Then add the tomatillos, roasted red bell peppers, water, garlic powder, and salt. Cover the skillet and let the mixture cook until softened; about 6 minutes.

Remove from heat. You may let the mixture cool or continue carefully while it’s still warm.

Scrape the chile-almond mixture into a blender and add vinegar. Blend until nearly smooth but retaining enough texture to be interesting. It should be the consistency of a milkshake adjust with a touch of water if necessary.

The salsa may be kept covered and refrigerated for up to one week.